Amazing Grace – Bidding the Mother Goodbye

Amos Guttman
  • Rate

Amazing Grace, Guttman’s final film, is his most personal, moving, and wholesome work, “I’m in all the characters in the film. My blood runs through it,” he confessed at the time. “I wrote the script from the deepest place in my gut.” The director who, whilst making the film, was living with full-blown AIDS, and was doing everything in his power to hide the fact of his illness, was articulating his fears and emotions here. Thomas, the main protagonist, an Israeli living in New York who has come home for a visit and is hiding the fact that he is critically ill (with an unnamed disease), is very much the mirror-image of Guttman who was harbouring this terrible secret.

Death hangs over the film (“I try and show different approaches to death in the film,” Guttman explained. “I am trying to say that dying is awful. When it comes to death, we are all a bunch of scared little kids.) Its presence is felt both in witty and amusing dialogue exchanges, and in the insights its characters have (“flower or no flower, she’s also gonna die”; “I’m sorry I couldn’t come sooner, I’m not really very good with funerals, you see”; “What have we got left, huh? Just errands and death”; “My head’s a bit all over the place today. Every week, it’s someone else’s funeral.”)

The film’s most touching scene is when Thomas is saying goodbye to his mother (Rivka Michaeli) whose character was no doubt based on Guttman’s own mother. Immediately after he’s finished sitting Shiva for his elderly, departed grandmother and just moments before he packs his bags to get on a plane back to NYC, Thomas sits down for a hearty meal with his mother whom he showers with love and affection. “If something happened to you, would you tell me?” his mother asks. “You don’t have to worry about me,” Thomas assures her. “I’m fine.” But the mother knows and full-well realises that he is terminally ill and that this is the last time they’ll ever see each other. At the end of the meal, he gets up, stands behind his mother who is still sat at the table, and gives her a long, lingering farewell hug. It is a crushingly heartrending scene that is the very epitome of amazing grace; much like the film’s own title.

Subscribe to our mailing list and stay up to date
הירשמו לרשימת התפוצה שלנו והישארו מעודכנים

This will close in 0 seconds